The entire book (the edition I have is only 61 pages) is a poem that tells the story of Frederick Knick-Knack, the peddler of dreams, and his search for the perfect birthday present for his good friend Alice (spelled Alys in the dedication), the Merchant of Marvels. He offers her many fascinating things, like unusual dresses folded into thimbles, the baby tooth of an ogre, a lock of hair from a mermaid, and a bell once worn by a cherub. Everything he offers her would make a wonderful present, but it's not till the end that Frederick realizes what would be the perfect gift for Alice.
The book's thick pages have drawings, paintings, and photographs of everything Frederick offers Alice (with the exception of the few that can't be seen). The poem itself is written in varying font styles and sizes. Clement uses a lot of aliteration, nonsense words, and words that are simply fun to say. This is one book that begs to be read out loud. Plus, the way Clement uses words and the images the words invoke can be really inspiring.
It's sometimes called a children's book, but don't let that fool you. Like Harry Potter and Robin McKinley's Beauty, this book is definitely not just for kids.